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Diplomat: Russia not linked to May 19 incident on Georgia-Abkhazia border

May 31, 17:27 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The incident at a checkpoint on the Georgian-Abkhazian border resulted in a Georgian national being shot dead by an Abkhazian border guard
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© Valeriy Matytsin/TASS, archive

MOSCOW, May 31 /TASS/. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said at a meeting with the co-chairmen of the Geneva discussions on security and stability in South Caucasus (EU Special Representative for South Caucasus Herbert Salber; Special Envoy of the incumbent OSCE chairperson-in-office for South Caucasus Gunther Bachler and UN Representative Antti Turunen) that Russian border guards had not been involved in the May 19 incident on the Georgian-Abkhazian border, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The sides exchanged views on the situation near the borders of Abkhazia and South Ossetia with Georgia and discussed preparations for the next round of talks in Geneva scheduled for June 14-15 this year," the Russian Foreign Ministry said.

"The co-chairmen informed each other of results of their recent trips to Sukhum [Abkhazia]; Tbilisi [Georgia] and Tskhinval [South Ossetia]," the ministry went on to say.

The diplomats also discussed the results of an extraordinary meeting held in the Abkhazian town of Gal on May 27 within the framework of a joint mechanism for prevention and reaction to incidents.

"The Russian side flatly denied the empty accusations of the Georgian Foreign Ministry that Russian border guards were involved in the May 19 incident on the Georgian-Abkhazian border," the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed.

The diplomats also confirmed their intention to continue to contribute to creating efficient and constructive atmosphere at the Geneva discussions with an aim to ensure secure stability and security in South Caucasus.

The incident took place in the territory of the Nabakia checkpoint on the Georgian-Abkhazian border near the Psou River on May 19. A drunk Georgian national, Gigla Otkhozoriya, clashed with a border guard from Abkhazia’s state security service who refused to let the Georgian enter the republic’s territory without the necessary papers.

The brawl moved to the territory of the border village of Khurcha, Georgia’s Zugdidi district, where Gigla Otkhozoriya was shot dead from firearms, according to reports.

Abkhazia’s Military Prosecutor’s Office initiated criminal proceedings against the border guard on charges of deliberate murder under article 99 of the Abkhazian Penal Code.

Abkhazia’s Foreign Ministry expressed deep regret over the Georgian citizen’s death.

"We regret the tragic incident that has taken place. The Abkhazian side intends to discuss it at the next Georgian-Abkhazian meeting to be devoted to mechanisms for the prevention of incidents in the town of Gal and reaction to them," the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry said in an official statement commenting on the incident on May 22.

The Abkhazian Foreign Ministry also urged the government in Tbilisi to refrain from fueling tensions over the incident. "It is regretful that the Georgian side, including the Foreign Ministry, has decided to use the incident for fueling tensions with an aim to score political points in an information war. It has described the situation in Abkhazia as absolutely uncontrollable and has put all the blame for the incident on the Russian side, which it claims to be an ‘occupational force’," the Abkhazian Foreign Ministry said.

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